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Uber is in talks to acquire some of valet startup Luxe's assets and engineers, as the Wall Street Journal first reported and Axios has learned. The talks are not final yet.

Not the end: While Luxe is working to sell of part of its business, the company itself, which has raised more than $75 million including from Hertz, isn't shutting down. Rather, the startup is looking to shed its original door-to-door valet service after concluding earlier this year that it should shift to more efficient approaches to parking, according to one source.

As Axios reported in January, Luxe opted to shut down operations in some cities to adjust its strategy and focus on its main markets. Since then, the company has also ended its door-to-door valet service (despite saying in January that each transaction is "profitable") and has been working on a new set of services it will debut in the summer, CEO Curtis Lee told Axios in April. The focus is expected to be on self-service and other less resource-heavy options.

Parking challenges: Despite several valet services cropping up a few years ago, virtually all have since shut down or shifted to different models as they've discovered the difficulties and inefficiencies of managing labor costs (valets) and logistics.

Go deeper

48 mins ago - World

Mapped: The world's most and least corrupt countries

Expand chart
Data: Transparency International; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

The most corrupt governments in the world are in South Sudan, Syria and Somalia, according to Transparency International's annual index, while the "cleanest" are in Denmark, Finland and New Zealand.

  • Breaking it down: The U.S. is 27th, China 66th, India 85th, Brazil 96th and Russia 136th. Scroll over the map to see each country's ranking.

Crypto leads to massive surge in online scams

Expand chart
Reproduced from FTC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Bogus cryptocurrency investments led to an unprecedented increase in online scams last year, according to new data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Why it matters: Cryptocurrency is an easy target because while it's surging in popularity, there's still a lot of confusion about how it works.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
3 hours ago - Health

New clues emerge on long COVID

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The presence of certain autoantibodies or high amounts of coronavirus RNA in the blood could be indicators a patient has a higher chance of developing long COVID, according to a new study in the journal Cell.

  • Other factors include a person having Type 2 diabetes or the reactivation of the Epstein-Barr virus.

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